Introducing ‘Notes from Mr. Sandman‘ – a column slapping a spotlight on lyricists overlooked, under appreciated, or just plain criminally slept on. Or like a man named Nas once said, “I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death.” Enter Mr. Sandman with what y’all missed while chasing the REM dragon; Photo: Ben Beal/Instagram


Ben Beal is a budding East Coast lyricist who rhymes like an ocean breeze; calm, cool and forever collected.

He’s never in a rush, meticulous with his writing and always up for a good laugh even if it’s at his own expense. As a student of the game, Beal’s influences run the gamut; from Eminem and Vince Staples to Kanye West. He’s young but remarkably levelheaded, a rap fiend with a strong pedigree.

“I just love doing things that aren’t typical,” said Beal over email. “I just happened to find my favorite pastime and biggest talent in writing lyrics and everything pretty much stemmed from there. When the reaction to my music started happening on a larger scale, I was so hooked.

“My dad is also an incredible piano player and when I started recording, I wanted him to lay down riffs and melodies so badly on my MIDI keyboard so I would have some ideas to sample and make beats out of. Being in a house constantly surrounded by music facilitated my musical ear and I owe most of my career to my family.”

Beal is a natural on the mic. He takes great pride in each verse making sure that what he writes holds up to the beats he’s rhyming over. His understanding of production value and creative aesthetics serve as his compass.

Smile” is a buttery jam that can be played on either a lazy summer evening or in the dead of winter while cozying up to your significant other. Moody and sophisticated. Nohidea lays out a simple but densely packed beat that mirrors a wandering imagination. Sophie Meiers plays the love interest and Beal slays with a wickedly mellow verse: [LISTEN]

“My favorite thing ever is the rush I get when a producer sends me a beat that I know is going to turn into hit,” said Beal. “I have incredibly talented friends and the amount of time and energy some of these producers are putting into the absurd instrumentals they manage to get to me keeps me motivated and inspired.”

“I listen to something that an artist like Beatboxbandit or Nohidea is doing and I can tell these kids have their craft literally dissected to a science. The genius I see in some of these producers on the come-up is so inspiring, I just want to do justice to their music. That’s a lot of pressure when you know these producers are undiscovered geniuses.”

Beal has a lazy river flow that falls into the same category as the likes of Slick Rick, Cool Calm Pete and Serengeti. It’s a manner that allows him to confidently approach each project, and properly manhandle whatever narrative he chooses to pursue. His hypnotic delivery sets a relaxed tone that counters the over dramatized hype that’s consuming the airwaves.

His latest single with Nohidea “Passing Time” is a precursor to a forthcoming project. The synergy is tight, and it offers a mighty dose of Ben Beal’s pacific style: [LISTEN]

Beal’s got an old soul, and he knows how to pick the beats that accentuate his skillset. His future is only getting brighter as he has a new album dropping this month with Nohidea and more work with Sophie Meiers; a far cry from when he was a young kid penning raps for a laugh.

“It’s funny, the first song I ever wrote was a parody rap over Eminem’s ‘‘Till I Collapse‘ when I was 11-years-old,” said Beal when asked about what ignited his passion for writing. “It was so fire. My friend Jeremy and I wrote a New York Knick’s themed banger to help us get over their impending loss against the Miami Heat which we watched the night of the recording.”

“My whole school listened to it; I was getting told by teachers, students and even the principal that although it was just a parody, there was some hidden talent in my verses. I realized I had some sort of flow and started finding original beats and even started pursuing knowledge on creating my own instrumentals. I peaked in 6th grade I think, that Knick’s song was so fire. Nobody understood why I was rapping and making beats as a little, nerdy 11-year-old kid but I got better and better and I just fell in love with the opportunities music created.”